Purpose, Mission, And Vision: What’s Most Likely Missing Is Purpose.

Everyone is – or at least trying to – run at full speed. Technology is racing forward and there is no slowing down. Disruption is everywhere. It may have been born in Silicon Valley and coined in Boston by Clayton M. Christensen, but it has now spread to every corner of the world and extended to every industry. To catch up with the breakneck pace of innovation, companies put frenzied efforts into becoming more agile, employing a human-centric approach to design, and creating labs to push the boundaries of industry definitions and the human imagination.

There is a big premium…
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10 Strategy Questions Every Fortune 500 CEO Needs To Ask Or Be Ready To Answer Before Your Next Board Meeting.

I picked up an old copy of Fast Company magazine yesterday. It is the 2012 March edition featuring the world’s top 50 most innovative companies. Apple was first, with Facebook, Google, and Amazon topping out the list. Now six years later—aside from a few new editions like Tesla, Airbnb, and Uber—there are no established companies stepping up to challenge the original four.

These unicorn companies, and many near-unicorn companies, are the darlings of Wall Street. Many of them achieved unicorn status even while they remained private companies. But can Wall Street’s love affair with the unicorns ever end? It seems like what they want is for companies to “speed up and grow fast, die slow, or…
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Companies Still Don’t Get Design. Not To Mention Design Thinking.

Lately I am more convinced than many companies still don’t understand design? Let alone design thinking. A lot has been written and many are just started to explore design thinking 101. Most of the efforts are applied on the front end of ideas generation which is really 10% of the problems. The problem we have not been training people to do this. Many design schools with a few exceptions are slow to respond to the market needs for design thinkers, or critical thinkers with design training. These require rethinking design education that no longer conform to the boundaries of design disciplines.

There are many schools of design, with one end being the ultimate form of self-expression, and the…
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Strategic Agility: What Exactly Does It Mean?

There have been a number of books and whitepapers published about strategic agility, but most of them are purely theoretical or too narrowly focused on things like software development methods. Rarely do people adequately address what strategic agility really means and how it can be made possible.

Today’s large enterprises are struggling with matters of compliance and maintaining tighter control over their company activities, while simultaneously wanting to create agility. There is no question that the market is moving at breakneck pace and companies simply cannot respond to the market—let alone think about business and organization design on a structural and systems level—but the desire to be agile still remains. Agility for many equates to rapid…
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Designing For Agility. Not Just Speed.

Agility is increasingly moving from being an ad hoc approach used for capturing an emerging opportunity in app development to becoming a core capability in maintaining competitiveness. We are in a continuous and disruptive market environment that can be best characterized as volatile, uncertain, and moving at breakneck speeds of change. To keep up with this, innovation needs to happen in ultra shorter cycles and must scale at the same speed. Long gone are 12-24 months of planning cycles. Now, product development must be driven by the current impact that various factors are having on users and the market ecosystems. Organizations must be able to react quickly—but for large enterprises, this is almost impossible.

Agility in itself…
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Digital Labs Need Runways To Take Off

Digital technology is now a part of our everyday lives and has been around for well over two decades. But despite its seeming ubiquity, and the fact that it’s on the core agenda of every enterprise, digital technology has only just begun to impact industries—and it’s about to make its biggest disruptive impact yet. This goes beyond channel disintermediation, advanced personalization, or customer engagement (not that those opportunities are being exploited exhaustively either), as enterprises are somewhere between 30 to 40 percent digitized, and still haven’t figured out or harmonized that digital is the core of omni-channel and everything else is just an extension.

The next generation of digitization is not about improving access and convenience….
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Artificial Intelligence Is Your Next Sustainable Competitive Advantage. Let’s Start With The Black Box.

For decades, companies have been searching for sustainable competitive advantages—but not many can claim that they have achieved this. Now, one big opportunity lies ahead of us and the race has only just begun. Artificial intelligence and deep learning is powering up the next level of digital transformation. Those who can transform their organization beyond simply adapting technologies and focus instead on changing the work culture and processes to being digital first will be in better positions. It has become apparent that AI may very well be part of the solution to achieving this. Think about it this way: the company is the algorithm; the algorithm runs the enterprise; AI powers the super algorithms.

Before jumping into the game…
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AI Is Causing Structural Changes In Industry Structures. This Is A 10 Year Race. Are You Ready?

We are experiencing the biggest disruption in business history since the introduction of computing and the internet. AI is broadly defined as machines that can perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, and complex decision-making. This definition, however, is not yet complete; the term will further evolve as we push the boundaries of cognitive computing and consultants race to invent new buzzwords. Meanwhile, CEOs and their executive advisors are thinking and talking about how they are using AI to create new competitive advantages. In just the last 10 days, two CEOs of two large global companies were telling me their companies’ future is all about AI….
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The Three Levels of Leadership

I have been mentoring leaders for decades, from the very young high potentials to far more seasoned individuals. Regardless of age or experience, there are always certain questions that are top of mind in my approach, like whether they are trainable or have the courage to be a leader and not only a manager. Being a manager is relatively easy; being a leader is hard. It means that you cannot please everybody. It means you have to balance between different interests. It means you have to stand up against the forces that could make your organization mediocre. It means managing politics and power point are just part of your daily routine.

Before I decide to invest…
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Management Consultants Want Design; Welcome To The D-School And B-school Club.

There was an interesting article written by fellow innovation practitioner Timothy Morey, from global design and strategy consultancy frog, on why management consulting firms are getting into design. It tries to explain how traditional management consultants are adopting the mantle of design and conducting journey mapping, experience mapping, and even customer experience design.

Welcome to the club. Seriously.

Morey is right by pointing out that designers do not see the world as a fixed canvas – that’s why I like teaching design classes. The students are an optimistic (and happy) bunch, who see the world as a range of possibilities that can be crafted and bent to their will (in Morey’s words). This is true, but the…
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